Fly-tipping fines bring in £750,000

Councils have collected more than �750,000 from thousands of fly-tipping fines in the first year of a crackdown on illegal waste dumping.
Councils have collected more than �750,000 from thousands of fly-tipping fines in the first year of a crackdown on illegal waste dumping.
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Councils in Yorkshire have collected more than £22,000 in fly-tipping fines in the first year of a crackdown on illegal waste dumping, figures show.

Nationally more than £750,000 was collected in the year after the Government gave local authorities new powers to issue “on the spot” fines in May 2016.

But many have not used the powers, which allow councils to issue penalties of between £150 to £400, instead of having to take offenders to court.

Of 297 English councils who responded with figures, more than two fifths (43 per cent) said they had not issued any fly-tipping notices between May 9, 2016, when the powers were first launched, and May 8, 2017.

A quarter of the dozen Yorkshire authorities surveyed had not issued fines.

Some councils have started using them more recently or are planning to use them, while smaller fines for littering continue to be used for low-level waste problems and more serious cases end up in prosecutions, the responses show.

Hull Council has been among the most proactive in Yorkshire, issuing 30 £200 fines. However only 18 were paid, raising a total of £3,600, with the rest referred for prosecution.

Assistant city manager, Council Doug Sharp, said fines were a helpful alternative. He said: “It definitely speeds up the process. It can be beneficial for all parties – it negates the need for court proceedings and building up a file and it also allows the accused to discharge their liabilities.”

In Sheffield they had to deal with 11,700 fly-tipping incidents in 2015-2016. Cabinet member for environment and streetscene, Coun Bryan Lodge, said the notices were “extremely cost effective and useful”.

He added: “They’re a deterrent and quick to issue, which is important as resources continue to be under pressure. However they’re not always suitable and we’ll take a different course of action in the more severe cases.”

Wakefield Council issued seven fixed penalty notices since this April, totalling £2,300 in fines.

London boroughs made up most of the top 10 local authorities who had issued the most fixed penalties, with Westminster topping the responses, collecting around £130,000.

Across England, the number of fly-tipping incidents have risen for three years in a row, government figures show, with councils reporting 936,090 cases in 2015/2016, up four per cent on the previous year.

Clearing up fly-tipped rubbish cost councils almost £50m in 2015/2016, while enforcement action cost nearly £17m.

Local Government Association spokesman, Martin Tett said it was wrong that councils had to spend “vast amounts” a year tackling the problem at a time when they continued to face significant funding pressures.

The move by the Government to allow councils to apply fixed penalty notices had been a “big step in the right direction”. But councils may still feel prosecutions were the most effective course of action.

An Environment Department spokeswoman said: “Fly-tipping is an unacceptable blight on our landscape, which is why we have cracked down on offenders by strengthening sentencing guidelines and giving councils the powers to hand out on-the-spot fines to fly-tippers.”